Digital marketing for small businesses

For a lot of small businesses entering the digital sphere can mean venturing into unfamiliar territory. However, in a world where customers now ordinarily expect to find sign posts for even the smallest brands and firms online, the world of marketing is becoming less about working on and offline and more about taking an integrated approach that joins all the dots in the right direction.

If your business does not sell online, that doesn’t mean customers aren’t entering the space to find and talk about it. And, if you’re not there to act as the guardian of that journey, far too many things are left to chance. Digital marketing is a broad umbrella term that incorporates strategy from website design, social media management and SEO through to online reputation management. That means it covers all aspects of the consumer journey – including helping customers to find you and your business online and off, engaging with them and ensuring what they have to say about you is positive, and influencing the behaviour of other potential customers.

Sound a little overwhelming? It needn’t! Dipping your toe into digital marketing can open up new revenue streams. Perhaps more importantly for small localised firms, it can put you in touch with local customers who are actively seeking the personal service and attention to detail associated with smaller businesses.

Localisation is predicted to be a huge trend for SEO in particular in 2013 and you can be part of it by better signposting your website and services in simple ways by improving the visibility of your site copy and listing your business on Google+. Beyond these basics, bringing on board a digital marketing agency that specialises in services such as web design or SEO will help ensure you are attracting customers online that convert. Across the globe there are agencies that specialise in one or two of these marketing elements such as SEO specialists Distilled. You can also find digital marketing agencies like Guerilla, based in the North of the UK, who offer a number of online services that support one another. This might include making your website responsive so it can be viewed more easily on tablet computers and mobiles, carrying out an SEO audit to see how you can make yourself and products more visible in online searches and creating an online PR strategy to launch a new product, with each individual element feeding into an overall campaign.

One great way to increase your visibility online is through social media. ‘Doing’ social media properly does require a time investment, but it provides both short term and long term results. If you aren’t already using Twitter and Facebook to connect with your customers, they may still be talking about you. Simply being there to direct any questions or complaints down the right avenues will be appreciated and help you to manage your online reputation.

Social media is a popular way to launch competitions, discounts and offers that can get you seen and heard by new audiences and managed well as a marketing tool this activity can be used to promote loyalty in new and potential customers. If you don’t know your hashtag from your status update, it may be that you seek the services of a marketing agency to show you the ropes. Many are happy to offer some basic training for a fixed fee even if you are unable to offer them on-going business monitoring your accounts. Another money-saving option is to charge marketing experts with setting up and growing your social media accounts and then passing them over to you to manage.

If you are considering digital marketing for your business your first step should be the same as your potential customers: search for yourself and see what you find!

This helpful business information was sponsored by Guerrilla Communications.

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